Pınar Aksoy, Board Member of TÜSED and Press Director of TÜSED: March 8th International Women’s Day Message
The event causing the March 8th announced as International Women’s Day in 1975 was the event where women workers died in a fire in a textile factory on March 8th, 1957 and when 129 workers of mostly women died during the intervention to the strike started because women were worked for a wage ½ less than male employees. In today’s world where violence against women has been increasing, we deeply feel the pain of all deceased women workers.
These painful events experienced are of great importance in terms of causing an increase in awareness about working women. Because history is expecting women’s efforts to exist in the business world and make themselves accepted. One of the most impressive examples of this is French author Charlotte Bronte who was obliged to keep her sex hidden for her profession. Since it could not be imagined for a woman to conduct ideational activities at that time, it was not acceptable for her to be an author. It is admirable for Egyptian pharaoh Hatšepsut 1st to pose as a man to rule her country.
Many women have affected the development of the world with their achievements in male-dominant professions in addition to their efforts to exist in the business world. Benazir Butto, the first female prime minister of a Muslim country, Sabiha Gökçen, the first female combat pilot in Turkey and the world, Afife Jale, the first female and Muslim drama artist to get on stage, Florance Nightingale who established modern nursing despite all objections by attending wounded soldiers during the war, Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, Marie Curie, the founder of radiology unit, Lale Orta, the first female referee licensed by Fifa, and Susie Wollf, the first female Formula 1 pilot, are the greatest examples that women can be successful in male-dominant jobs.
Female inventors with intelligence making any gender discrimination unnecessary and whom we are all thankful for have a completely different place. We, as men and women, are extremely grateful to Josephine Cocraine who invented the dishwasher with the idea “If no one does it, then I do it.”, and activist nurse Margaret Sangera advocating for birth control when she worked as a nurse, and many more.
We are feeling proud that there are many women touching hearts, lives, and humanity in business and life, and it shows that women have the power and ability to accomplish everything “if they want to”.
From days where women were considered unable to write as they could not think to times where it is normal for women to be scientists and chosen as the scientist of the year; it is clear proof that how positive a change it was for women to be valued as they deserve and how societies’ perspective about women have changed.
By taking all these esteemed and unique women who left their trace in history, we, as female insurance experts, take our place in difficult sites in our profession and do our job thoroughly. So, do we have additional difficulties compared to many professions? Of course, we have.
Above all, the male-dominant business world is valid for the insurance sector. The number of male expert colleagues and male executives is higher. On the other hand, the perception that female experts exist has yet to be formed in society. If you are also young, then you are assumed “inexperienced”. There is an illusion that all experts are men in minds, we even have to explain that we are female insurance experts, so we start as defeated 1 to 0.
Starting a conversation about their homelands or using phrases like “brother/sister/dear” may ease the communication process. It must be the effect of the amount of respect shown to us, even though we, female experts, stretch as much as we can, it may not be easy for others to adapt.
One of the challenging matters for all experts regardless of sex is attire. We, experts, are like the “people of the Eastern Black Sea where mornings are sunny, and afternoons are rainy”. We are both white-collar and blue-collar workers as we work both in offices. It would be accurate to make a specific color of collar for our profession. Whenever we prefer elegant office attire, we need to go into fire or flood. As it is not possible to have a spare dress all the time, we forget about high heels and have a shabby style in time.
It is worrisome for us to be on the road day and night in our country where violence against women has been increasing. Unfortunately, our family order is not equivalent to those working in a shift between 9:00 and 18:00. It might be difficult for families to adopt this. The number of female experts is low and proceeds at the rate of 20%.
It might be worrisome to be alone with people we do not know indoors. We are constantly on a test to prove ourselves in situations like displaying physical efforts like climbing a crane or being made to prove our knowledge and experience in professions considered as if they are only for men to do.
However insurance expertise is a process management profession. The fact that we, as women, are made to overcome more difficult paths than our male colleagues does not mean we cannot handle such situations. Nothing is impossible. We love our profession and do this job knowing the difficulties. Thus, all these seemingly challenging details disappear in the natural process and the insurance sector develops being aware of this.
As a working mother and an insurance expert, I wish that it would clearly be perceived that there is no difference arising from being a woman in the execution of the expertise profession in terms of knowledge and equipment and we can manage many titles as an employee, executive, entrepreneur, mother, wife and more together, and it would be clearly seen that we add color to the profession. I would like to end my speech with the wish for environments where violence against women in all fields of life and gender-based discrimination and mobbing in the business world end.
I would like to celebrate the March 8th International Women’s Day of all my colleagues and the insurance community (women, men) Türkiye Insurance Experts Association (TÜSED) Management supporting the development of the business world in all field by valuing all qualifications of women and especially their “ideas”. I hope that awareness will be raised for all female experts in our sector.
Board Member of TÜSED and Press Director of TÜSED